Mismanagement of the rollout of President Obama's health care law is under renewed attack as problems remain severe and as fellow Democrats jump ship or urge emergency repairs for the new system.
Last week, Obama apologized for pledging that all Americans who want to keep their existing health insurance plans could do so under his health care law, the Affordable Care Act. That has proven false. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people are having their health insurance plans canceled, partly because of requirements imposed by that law.
Former President Bill Clinton, a popular figure in the Democratic party, told OZY, a web magazine: "I personally believe even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got." Clinton added that he still supports the law even though it needs to be repaired.
But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a media announcement, "These comments signify a growing recognition that Americans were misled when they were promised that they could kept their coverage under President Obama's health care law. The entire health care law is a train wreck that needs to go."
White House officials say Obama is considering ways for the government to help Americans who are losing their plans but the officials won't elaborate on how this might be done.
The president has been criticized ferociously for deception and mocked for incompetence because the launch of the enrollment website for the new insurance system has been plagued by huge problems.
Late-night comedian Jay Leno, often a barometer of public attitudes, said on his TV show Monday night, "A new record was set today in the 100 meters. It was set by Senate Democrats running away from Obamacare."
Among those supporting some kind of fix for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are politically vulnerable Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
And it appears that many Americans are turning against Obamacare. Only 19 percent believe the quality of their health care will improve because of the ACA, while 43 percent think their care will get worse, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. About 33 percent say the ACA won't affect their health care at all.
The poll also found that 54 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's job performance, while 39 percent approve, his worst rating since becoming president in January 2009 and possibly a result, at least in part, of the furor over Obamacare. A majority of Americans, 52 percent, now find Obama dishonest and untrustworthy, while 44 percent don't feel that way.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at email@example.com and on Facebook and Twitter.